Category Archives: Uncategorized

Doing it Doggy Style

Social Networking, of course. I happened upon DoggySpace.com this morning and thought it was funny but also dangerously dancing the line between cute and obsessive. Visitors can come to the site to create a social networking profile for their pooch. They can then choose to flush out basic information like gender and type but also fill in interactivity and comprehensive identity related items such as “about me.”

DoggySpace.com, social networking for dogs?
As a social scientist this makes me wonder about several things:

  • How much are people projecting their own personalities onto their pets? Could it be a foray into identity tourism? Who is the man behind the Rottweiler? Why is this person hitting on my Westie?
  • Will the site be a feat in misdirection and an indirect contact medium for people interested in meeting or dating others? I mean that’s largely what dog meet-ups are about, right? Nice dog, wanna frak?
  • Do you think some bloke will be fan enough of our parents’ culture of fear to request privacy controls for their pet?
  • Which dogs get the most friends? Just the ones who are the most active or do you think it’ll have to do with the cuteness/funny factor too?
  • Will LOLcatz language dominate exchanges throughout the site? Or we see the spawn of a new tribute to grammar’s demise?
  • Is this place more successful than the cat competition, MyCatSpace.com
  • How soon until Facebook and MySpace start acquiring sites like this?

You know I still do believe one of the hallmarks of digital literacy is comfort and familiarity with virtual (digital) individual and group identities, but this is a little strange, even for me. Just wait until my mom puts our dog up on there…

To be a refugee

Since I started my new position at Minnesota Council of Churches Refugee Services on Monday, it has become very clear to me that Americans know little to nothing about the refugee or asylee population that lives with us. Following the mustache post with this rather more sobering one feels uneven but important to what I’m doing with my life right now, so I’ve decided to post some

FUN REFUGEE FACTS (that are not so fun)

The difference between an asylee and a refugee:

Both of these individuals meet the same definition/requirements: an individual who, “owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion, is outside the country of their nationality, and is unable to or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail him/herself of the protection of that country” (1951 United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees). However, a refugee is given refugee status while NOT in the US, and an asylee is granted asylee status while already IN the US.

The (or a) difference between a refugee and an immigrant:

An immigrant has chosen to come to the US, is seeking status as a Lawfully Permanent Resident, and must prove that they will not use government services such as welfare but instead will be a contributing member to their community. A refugee is given multiple services and is not expected to prove their self-sufficiency in the same way.

After a year refugees have to return to the Department of Homeland security for “inspection and examination for admission,” which generally means that they either file for a green card (status as a Lawfully Permanent Resident or LPR), are detained by the government for various reasons, or can be sent home if political conditions there have changed in a way to alter their status as a refugee.

Three kinds of refugees:

Priority 1–
Status is determined on an individual case basis; personal life experiences meet the definition of refugee.

Priority 2–
Status is determined by belonging to an ethnic group that is determined by the Department of State to fit, as a group, the definition of refugee status. Each year this list is changed; examples for 2008 include the Sudanese in Iraq or the Bhutanese in Nepal.

Priority 3–
Refugees who are spouses, unmarried children under 21, or parents of individuals already lawfully admitted to the United States as refugees or asylees.

This year the ceiling (as in limit, not quota) on refugees admitted the US is 70,000. The number actually expected is 52,000. The world refugee population for 2008 is 11.4 million.

Hope that cheered everyone up.

The neomodern paradigm of narrative, objectivism and structuralist precapitalist theory

For those of you shuffling off to college this next August I’ve found a spectacular tool for you:essay

An essay generator. No, it’s not that silly simple one that spews out a few paragraphs and images, this one uses really big and scary words. And apparently got past the acceptance requirements for Social Text, a journal by the Duke University Press.

In any event I invite you to try it out – simply visit this page and you’ll get a new masterpiece every time!

“A man without a mustache is like a cup of tea without sugar.”–English proverb


Willi Chevalier
Sigmaringen, Germany
Sigmaringen Beard Club
Partial beard freestyle category (“Willi has won this category at all WBMC’s in memory with the exception of the 2003 WBMC when he was on injured reserve following an unfortunate encounter with a power drill”)

The mustache is a widely debated form of facial hair that I, for one, was never a fan of until just recently when I discovered this: the World Beard and Mustache Championships . Only eighteen years old, this amazing phenomenon brings together hirsute competitors to rival one another in a range of categories (six specifically for mustaches: natural, Hungarian, Dalí, English, imperial, and freestyle).


Elmar Weisser
Brigachtal, Germany
Swabian Beard Club
(Beard depicts Berlin’s Brandenberg Gate)

After being held in Sweden, England, Germany, Norway, and other locations, this coming year’s championship games will be hosted in Anchorage, Alaska. Beard Team USA is sadly less impressive than many other teams, but according to the World website, in 2007 “Upstart Beard Team USA mounted a serious challenge to the always dominant Germans, taking first in five categories.”


Burke Kenny
Olympia, Washington
Beard Team USA
(Kenny is “a former pizza delivery professional”)

The Dalí category makes a great deal of sense if you’re familiar with pictures of the painter, one of which is below. Dalí not only dedicated paintings to his stache, he also created a book of his mustache with photographer Philippe Halsman.

All of this made me curious about Guinness Book World Records, so I discovered Badamsinh Juwansinh Gurjar–the man designated in 2004 as winner of the world’s longest mustache. At that time his mustache was twelve and a half feet and he had not cut it for twenty-two years. Gurjar is pictured below.

e.g. versus i.e.

I’ve been doing a lot of editing documents lately and it has come to my attention that I never knew the difference between i.e. and e.g., and have therefore used them interchangeably. That’s probably not a great idea now that I’m writing for a wider audience than my friends who read this blog so I looked it up. Here’s what I found.

“I.e.” stands for the Latin phrase ‘id est’ or _that is_. “I.e.” is used in place of “in other words,” or “it/that is.” One uses i.e. when one wants to specify a previous point or re-phrase something to catch a different nuance of meaning.

“E.g.” is also Latin, though it stands for ‘exempli gratia’, which translates as _for the sake of an example._ One uses e.g. when an example is needed, but one wants to imply that the examples given are just some of the many possible examples.

Some examples:

* Her heart sunk as the ship disappeared into the water; i.e., she was devastated. _from_ “_WiseGeek.com_”:http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-the-difference-between-ie-and-eg.htm
* I like citrus fruits (e.g., oranges and lemons). _from_ “_Daily Writing Tips_”:http://www.dailywritingtips.com/the-difference-between-eg-and-ie/

Corporate team-building. …yea?

” “The Go Game”:http://www.thegogame.com/team/index.asp is the future of corporate play. It’s the intersection of wireless technology, Mission: Impossible, and team-building as you have never seen it.”

This is hide and go seek, capture the flag, and any other silly game all wrapped into one. First of all you are issued a lunch box (right) filled with all the necessary tools for fun: Cell phone, digital camera, a CD, a host of actors, a scripted game plot, and prizes. Seriously! What happened to good old fashioned four square? Check out this “gallery”:http://www.thegogame.com/team/gallery/photos.asp of corporate folk having fun. Some selections below.

http://duenos.net/article/421/Stuffwhitepeoplelike about "Stuff White People Like":http://stuffwhitepeoplelike.com/ for similar embarrassment.

Map Monday: Potential powder kegs

The planet is scattered with hazardous or explosive leftovers from a succession of technical breakthroughs – be they military or industrial – just waiting to be washed away by a flood or mudslide or carried off by a hurricane. If disaster strikes these “powder kegs” multiply the danger to people and the environment.

If this topic is of any interest to you, please see “President Eisenhower’s farewell speech”:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8y06NSBBRtY about the dangers of the arms race and what he and many others term the “Military Industrial Complex.” Many of the landmines and other weapons used to kill all over the world have their roots here in the United States and it is only by waking up to this and changing the subsidy programs in this country that we can possibly change the violent realities in other countries. In the mean-time, there are organizations like the “International Campaign to Ban Land Mines”:http://www.icbl.org/ that work to deal with the short-term effects of this plague.

This map and description has been shamelessly lifted from “UNEP”:http://maps.grida.no/go/graphic/conflicts_and_disasters_potential_powder_kegs_landmines_and_other_explosives.

Previously featured on Duenos:
* “Anti-Landmine Commercial”:http://duenos.net/article/68/iraq-war-continues-unimpeded-soccer-players-at-risk – A scary look at what it could mean if these problems were as common here as they are in some of the places highlighted in the map above.
* “Map Monday: Thermohaline circulation”:http://duenos.net/article/433/MapMondayThermohalineoceancirculation – The current that keeps the world temperate.
* “Map Monday: Deforestation in Borneo”:http://duenos.net/article/432/MapMondayDeforestationinBorneo – Another human trend that is doing damage, this time to Orangutans.

Holy balls! wtf is the garbage?

Italian artist Graziano Cecchini decided to protest the halt on garbage collection in Italy… how? By making more garbage! But cute, colorful, fun garbage in the form of 50,000 balls. I think he wanted to make a ball pit out of the Piazza di Spagna… apparently nobody warned him what those are like in McDonalds.

It does beg an interesting question though – what to do with all of the garbage. I mean we accumulate this stuff continuously, if we reached a critical mass where would we put it that wouldn’t hurt the environment?

The impact on Naples has been pretty bad – nobody wants to buy products from the area anymore because they might be contaminated. There’s talk of building a modern incinerator to help ease the problem (or you could just talk to the mob and get it dumped in eastern Europe) but I suspect they’re going to need a more long-term solution. Time will tell…